Dialogue and reconciliation

Dialogue and reconciliation can be made possible by re-establishing the bonds between the population concerned, its history and its cultural affiliations and helping to restore a sense of common ownership of the heritage that has been damaged or is a source of conflict.

One means of achieving this is to resort to post-conflict mediation which is intended to create the best possible conditions to achieve peace between communities.

Young people must be trained through specially designed information material, especially in written or audio-visual formats, so as to sharpen their intercultural sensitivity and skills. In this way, young people can in turn become cultural mediators, who live and practise cultural diversity and dialogue on a daily basis. In this context, preventive warning mechanisms are vital tools for appeasing or resolving conflicts that are frequently of cultural origin.

Owing to their ability to absorb every influence, and the fact that they take in populations from the four corners of the earth, the world's megacities are a melting-pot in which the richest possible cultural mixes occur. However, these traditional spaces of cultural exchange and innovation also provide the setting for many of the ills of modern society: unemployment, poverty, crime, inadequate infrastructures and services, and environmental problems. Cities must devise citizens’ protection mechanisms and systems to encourage solidarity at a time when such values are called into question by the processes of globalization.

Post-conflict mediation

Post-conflict mediation is intended to create the best possible conditions to achieve peace between communities. For this reason UNESCO has launched a project entitled "Towards a plural identity in areas of intercommunity tension".

Its action consists in part of training workshops responsible for preparing and promoting appropriate data materials, particularly in written or audiovisual form, so as to develop the awareness and intercultural skills of young people. Such young people could in their turn become cultural mediators, living and practising cultural diversity and day-to-day dialogue. In this context, preventive warning mechanisms are a vital tool for appeasing or resolving conflicts that are frequently of cultural origin. An initial experiment has already been carried out in south-east Europe. A special field of action: The city, an intercultural laboratory and sphere of conflict prevention. Their penetrability to every influence, and the fact that they take in populations from the four corners of the earth, makes of vast cities a melting-pot in which the richest possible cultural mixes occur. However, this traditional foyer of cultural exchange and innovation also produces most of the ills of modern society: unemployment, poverty, crime, inadequate infrastructures and services, and environmental problems. Cities are increasingly in the front line in the struggle against exclusion and in the matter of security and intercommunal conflict prevention or management; they have to devise citizens’ protection and solidarity systems in the shadow of globalization. UNESCO’s priority in this context is to foster the creation of decentralized data infrastructures to assist local authorities in political decision-making regarding the fight against exclusion. A data-base listing more than 700 best practices in urban harmony has now been drawn up on the basis of a “Cities for Peace” network. The “Culture in the Neighbourhood” project brings a magnifying glass to this attempt at intercultural dialogue in the urban environment, being based on partnerships between African and European countries and placing emphasis on social integration and participation of the inhabitants.

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